emily book cover with bare feet, sand, water, and a crystal

Rating: 4 out of 5.

R.D. Berger 2021

I received an Advance Readers Copy in return for my honest review. Thank you to R.D. Berger and Reedsy Discovery for the ARC.

How do you imagine that first contact with non-Earth entities could take place? Is it possible that the essence of a vast ancient extra-terrestrial race has been distilled and contained in crystal stones? Could those crystals be here on Earth, and are they here for good or for evil?

While hiking with her parents, twelve-year-old Emily Sutton makes a discovery: she finds a stone that seems to talk to her. The experience is so frightening that Emily rejects the stone, but the stone won’t let her go, and eventually she and the stone are working together. The stone, with Emily’s help, flexes its “muscles” with small demonstrations of its ability to control electronics and machinery, and soon it’s working apparent miracles.

Meanwhile, deep underground (literally), Sam, the genius son of the leader of a super-secret elite global network, finds a stone of his own. Is this stone a companion to Emily’s, or is it something more sinister? Readers don’t know the answer to this question because the book ends abruptly at a crucial point in the plot, which runs right up to the edge of a cliff and hangs there. Readers need to wait for the next installment of The Genesis Stones to find out what happens to Emily and Sam.

The plot is engaging. I appreciated the author’s subtle challenge of accepted gender roles, which caused me to question my own assumptions while reading the book. In my non-expert opinion, Emily’s age and her very authentic voice make this book a true YA novel, which I would have loved anywhere from sixth grade up into middle school. It seems appropriate for a younger audience than some commercial YA fiction with characters in their late teens, and which is typically read by readers in their twenties.

I’m rating this book at four stars; it’s an enjoyable read that I believe the target audience will love.

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